A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition assessed questionnaires between 1980 and 2014. In these assessments, postmenopausal women and men over the age of 50 self-reported lifestyle information and hip fractures. Among the lifestyle factors considered was alcohol consumption. The study found that the risk for hip fractures declined in connection with reported, moderate alcohol intake. For women, drinking red wine represented the most evident link to decreased incidence of hip fracture.

This study suggests that alcohol and bone density might play a role in the likelihood of a hip fracture. 

Long-Term Heavy Drinking Increases Fracture Risk

Alcohol and bone health has been a source of interest for many people, especially in regard to managing osteoporosis and similar medical conditions. While alcohol and bone strength do have a positive correlation, it is only with moderate use. 

Previously, separate research found that moderate alcohol consumption does in fact increase bone mineral density. This study broke the findings down further to separate how specific kinds of alcohol may impact bone health, and according to it, the link between alcohol and bone density levels were most evident among postmenopausal women who drank red wine. 

Low to Moderate Drinking May Reduce the Risk of Hip Fracture

Low to moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of hip fractures. This study computed an incidence of 2,360 hip fractures in women and 709 in men. Among the female participants, the risk ratio for fractures was lower than that of the women who did not drink. For men, a decline was charted as it related to alcohol consumption. Nondrinkers had a risk rate of 0.77%. For the women who self-reported drinking red wine, the risk ratio decreased to 0.59%.

Red wine is often praised as having health benefits. The health-positive ingredient in red wine called resveratrol is an antioxidant that is found in the skin of red grapes, berries and nuts. This antioxidant is also sold as a supplement that may help with:

  • Blood pressure
  • Antimicrobial health
  • Brain health
  • Joint pain and inflammation
  • Heart and cardiovascular health

Alcohol Intake and Bone Density

Alcohol and bone density may be connected, but this may not mean that every kind of alcohol provides the same result. Alcohol and osteoporosis may be better understood through this study by looking at which types of alcohol contribute to bone health.

  • Red Wine: Red wine and osteoporosis had the strongest correlation seen in this study. Resveratrol is presumed to be the active element in red wine that strengthens bones. However, negative resveratrol side effects do exist and can include detrimental effects on the heart, liver and kidneys. 
  • Beer: Beer and bone density have been studied before. Positive associations occurred between drinking beer and fracturing of the hip, femur and upper thigh in men.
  • Liquor: Liquor consumption has been positively associated with decreased spine fractures.

How Much Alcohol is Safe?

In most studies conducted, participants whose self-reporting has been linked to a decreased risk of hip or other bone fractures followed the recommended alcohol consumption for moderate drinking. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor or 5 ounces of wine. The daily alcohol limit for people to be considered moderate drinkers is one of these drinks per day for women and two drinks per day for men. People who are at risk for osteoporosis may discuss the benefits and risks of alcohol use with their healthcare provider.

If you are struggling with alcohol abuse and would like to learn more about treatment options and programs, please contact The Recovery Village.